Gritty Castleford Tigers ‘hanging tough’ in Super League play-off race, says Daryl Powell

CASTLEFORD TIGERS coach Daryl Powell is happy to see his team ‘win ugly’ in their quest for a top-six finish in Super League.

Castleford Tigers' Peter Mata'utia on his way to scoring a try against Salford at Magic Weekend (Picture: John Clifton/SWPix.com)

With two rounds of the regular season remaining, Castleford hold the sixth and final play-offposition following a scrappy 
29-18 defeat of Salford Red Devils in Newcastle. Tigers, missing their three specialist half-backs, made hard work of it and were below their best, but did what they needed to do to get the job done and Powell accepts that is all that really matters at this stage of the campaign.

In the race for play-off qualification, Castleford have come up on the rails, climbing two places from their post-Wembley situation – when they appeared too far adrift – and are now masters of their own destiny. “It’s so tight, at this moment in time it looks like a crucial two points,” said Powell of Saturday’s victory.

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“I’ve said to the boys, it might not be pretty for us for the rest of the year, because of what’s happened to us, but it can be exactly what we showed today – gritty and tough and we find a way to win games.”

Castleford Tigers' Peter Mata'utia celebrates with the man of the match award (Picture: Ed Sykes/SWPix.com)

Tigers visit the side immediately below them, Hull KR, this weekend and Powell insisted: “We’ve got two games left and we are in a great position.

“Players are hanging tough and finding a way to win games when we are under a bit of pressure.”

Peter Mata’utia, playing out of position at scrum-half, was Castleford’s Magic Weekend hero, kicking four conversions and scoring the late try which finally took the game out of a spirited Salford side’s reach.

Earlier, tries by Paul McShane, who did not appear in the second half because of an ankle injury and Daniel Smith twice edged Castleford in front, only for Ken Sio and Joe Burgess - plus conversions from Krisnan Inu – to level matters each time.

Tries either side of the interval proved crucial as Oliver Holmes went over and then Jordan Turner, Castleford’s other makeshift half-back, touched down to open a 10-point gap.

Ata Hingano reduced the deficit with a converted try and Castleford survived some anxious moments on their line before Mata’utia darted over with seven minutes remaining and Turner added a drop goal in the final seconds.

Castleford Tigers: Evalds, Olpherts, Blair, Shenton, Clare,Turner, Mata’utia, Griffin, McShane, Smith, Holmes, Sene-Lefao, Massey. Subs Milner, Foster, Hepi, Matagi.

Salford Red Devils: Escare, Sio, Inu, Sarginson, Burgess, Lolohea, Hingano, Johnson, Atkin, Burke, Roberts, Robson, Brown. Subs Luckley, Costello, Lannon, Addy.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield).